Helping Youngsters Learn to Hunt Squirrels!

From personal experience, I know that squirrels come from far and wide to hang their “Home, Sweet Home” sign in trees with nuts.

When Hurricane Ike blew through here last September,j0236412 MDH’s* pecan crop lay littered over the ground. Would the squirrels eat them?

Nope, they wanted fresh ones – and stripped the trees of the remaining pecans.

In Some States: Squirrels = Varmints

I think we are sending a confused message about these rodents. Where we live, squirrels can be shot year round. However, in Houston (a mere 35 miles away), squirrels are protected!

If you are trying to help a youngster get started hunting, squirrels might be just the right target. The skills a young person develops hunting these creatures carries over to larger game.

For example, squirrels are wary and have sharp ears and eyes. Learning to travel in the woods, searching for these tree rats is great training for hunting wild turkeys, etc.

63 Species – From 2 Ozs. to 20 Lbs.

There are an incredible 63 species in this group, from mini-chipmunks to huge marmots (up to 20 lbs.). Today and tomorrow, I’ll offer info about some of the most common tree squirrels, what they eat, etc.; then come back and discuss hunting methods with kids.

Gray Squirrels

Probably the most common ‘shade tail’ in America, they live wherever nuts are grown.  Grays also love corn and can decimate cornfields throughout the growing season!

Everyone knows the ‘old wives’ tale’ that squirrels remember where they bury their nuts. Not so, say biologists. Instead, they use their incredible sense of smell to find them when food is scarce.

Where winters are harsh, grays move into holes (created by disease or woodpeckers). When the weather warms, they tend to build nests in the crooks/forks of  limbs.

When there is enough food, grays prefer to eat in early am and late afternoon. In times of  want, they must feed all day to get enough. What is less known is that these animals like to feed on tree buds in the moonlight (during the spring season).

Grays range over the largest area – Manitoba, all of the eastern states, Iowa, and eastern North Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas.

They also live in the widest range of habitats: swamps, hardwood forests, piney woods,  and cleared areas with thin tree stands along rivers, thickets and urban areas.

Next: Other tree squirrels: fox squirrels, Abert’s squirrels, red squirrel and the northern and southern flying squirrels.


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